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Old 06-15-2018, 05:46 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: England
Posts: 2,265

Hi Andrew,

I've read this a few times and I like it. It continues to involve me and reveal new things. A good sign. It's a strange one isn't it? You must know this. The 'marrow and parsley' line feels like a shrugged acknowledgement that some Proustian 'Madeleine' moment has failed to manifest. After that the poem shifts from past to present tense and the N wants to shake off the past, or even the idea of escaping from the past.

Yikes, I don't know. It's a successful poem, I think, because I feel confident that you know exactly what's going on, so I don't need to. And the telling has some real beauty to it.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:00 PM
A. Sterling A. Sterling is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: East Coast, U.S.A.
Posts: 39

Hi Andrew,

There’s something appealing about this that it’s hard to put my finger on – the imagery, as others have already commented on, and the way it all holds together in a way I wouldn’t have thought it could if someone had tried to describe it to me. The only thing I really want is more of it—or, rather, for it to be a vignette in some larger whole rather than just standing alone. It’s lovely as it is, but just imagine it relating to other poems in the way the images in it relate to one another— if that makes sense.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:15 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,337

Hi Jan, Erik, Mark, and A.

Jan: I'm so glad you enjoy it. I always find your imaginative poetic leaps inspiring, so it's nice that this works for you.

Erik: I'm glad you like it. I spent some time tinkering with "others" at your suggestion, but couldn't come up with one I like better. I also pondered why this poem, and some of my more recent ones, might have confused people with their pronouns. I'm thinking it's because I'm reading Ashbery and he loves the floating pronouns.

The marrow part--in addition to evoking Thoreau--was originally tied into Bourdain's ideal last meal. Apparently the Google tells me it's now sushi, but at one point it was bone marrow and parsley, and I always liked that as an image. I think the resonance with Thoreau--and that even eating life to the marrow, seeing it's beauties, is not going to bring fulfillment by itself--helps this image work even without the tie to Bourdain.

Mark: I'm glad you like it. You have a nice reading, and while I hadn't thought of the bone marrow and parsley in Proustian terms explicitly before, I think it fits. If it moves the reader, it works for me, and I think you are a good reader.

A.: I don't quite know how to address you, so I'll go with Aulus/Aula. Thanks for chiming in. If I'm reading you right, your thought it that the poem would be best fit into some larger series? And a series, at that, that mixes some of the motifs to deepen their meaning? I like that idea, and the ambition of it, and I'll keep it in mind, though I don't know that I can dip into that well and pull the same water out.
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:52 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 2,704

Hi Andrew,

For me, "crypts' light chambers" is a bit of mouthful. Would just "standing stones" do it? And then it kind of plays off wanting to stand still and be a tree later on.

Just realising that some of my reaction against the tree ending comes from this UK TV advert from the early 90's, following which "I want to be a tree" became something of a catch-phrase / the basis of jokes etc. About 25 seconds in:



Last edited by Matt Q; 06-17-2018 at 05:55 PM.
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